Funding for mature students

We recognise that coming to university can present financial challenges for mature students. Bristol offers a range of bursaries and additional funding avenues for mature students in addition to the government student finance package.

Applying for student finance as a mature student

As a mature student, you can apply for undergraduate student loans through your regional student finance provider after you have applied to university. The student finance package can support with tuition fees and maintenance costs. Applications for student finance typically open in March each year.

Although in university terms a mature student is over 21, for student finance the definition is over 25 years old.

If you are aged over 25, the amount of maintenance loan you receive from student finance will be dependent on your own circumstances rather than the household income of any parents or guardians.

If you are aged between 21 and 25, your household income assessment will typically include any earnings from parents or guardians.

Students under 25 who have supported themselves financially for three years before their course starts, will need to supply proof of financial independence when applying. We recommend speaking to our Student Funding Office.

There is subject-specific advice for students applying to study Medicine, Dentistry, Dental Hygiene and Therapy or Veterinary Science.

Previous higher education study

If you have ever studied at higher education level before (level 4 or above) then this may affect your eligibility for student finance, even if it was a long time ago or you never completed the qualification.

You will usually not be eligible for a tuition fee loan or maintenance loan from Student Finance England if:

  • you already have an honours degree;
  • and your current course is at the same or a lower level than your previous course.

For some courses, second-degree students can apply for maintenance loans. Read more about funding for second-degree studies in medicinedentistry, and veterinary science

If you have already studied an undergraduate degree, you can consider postgraduate study which can be funded through postgraduate loans.

Additional government funding

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible to receive additional funding support from the government:

University bursaries and additional funding

The University offers a range of means-tested bursaries and funding avenues for mature undergraduates.

Please note that the deadline to apply for ‘additional funding’ changes each year.

Mature care leavers, estranged students and bereaved students under the age of 25 may be eligible to receive the Bristol Stand Alone Bursary.

Financial Assistance Fund

The University of Bristol also offers emergency and hardship funds for students who are registered and have started their course. This supports students with additional costs which may not be covered by other support packages, or who have financial emergencies.


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Funding level 3 studies

The Advanced Learner Loan is available from the government to cover the costs of studying a level 3 course, such as Access to HE Diplomas and A-levels, which might be required for university study. Further education providers will tell you how to apply for this loan.

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